This was a major validation of Rosenthal’s hypothesis, but not in the way you might think. You see, the bloomers were not chosen by IQ test results; they were chosen randomly. The improvement through the year was therefore not due to anything having to do with the students themselves, but it was instead due to the behaviors of the teachers. The point of the study was to determine whether teachers would treat “bloomers” differently than other students. The fact that bloomers performed so much better than other students indicates that teachers’ knowledge of their status became a self-fulfilling prophecy. Teachers spent more quality time with bloomers, gave them more encouragement, and gave them more extensive feedback. All of the extra attention led to improved learning and better results on the end-of-year test.
This “Rosenthal Effect” is also known as the Pygmalion Effect. It has been demonstrated in other studies outside of the classroom. The general concept is that genuinely higher expectations themselves lead to better performance.
What does this say to us as leaders? How can we use this knowledge to become better at getting the most out of people? What might be the opposite impact of having low expectations of other